Syria: Bullets and Countershots


2015 Season

Founded in 2010, the Abounaddara Collective is a group of filmmakers working to provide an alternative image of Syrian society, different from the prevailing representations of Syria found in the mainstream media. Since April 2011, the collective has produced one short film every week, using a very particular cinematographic language–a sort of "emergency cinema." Working in a state of emergency and subject to certain constraints, the collective's members are all volunteers and anonymous. They present ordinary men and women who are neither heroes nor victims. Human Rights Watch will screen a selection of short films by the Abounaddara Collective, which won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and explore the concept of "emergency cinema" in the context of Syria. For the Abounaddara Collective, "films should burst out like bullets to break the silence. They should tell the Syrian story with great narrative intensity and make the viewer look at reality differently." The films in this program will focus on three themes: citizen-journalists and the media, women's and children's rights, and armed groups. In each section, the films of the Abounaddara Collective provide a "countershot" to what we see in the mainstream media.

Introduction by Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa division, Human Rights Watch

Panel discussion with Charif Kiwan, co-founder of and spokesperson for the Abounaddara Collective, Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research, Amnesty International, and Ole Solvang, Senior Researcher, Emergencies division, Human Rights Watch

Moderated by Andrea Holley, Deputy Director, Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Abounaddara Collective
Country of Production: 
In Arabic with English subtitles